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En Route #26


Sweet Spring Days

We’ve waited, we’ve hoped, we’ve prayed, Spring is finally here. With temperatures comfortably 50 F (13 C) and above, bringing both the trees and the tourists back to Paris in full bloom, I think it’s safe to say that winter is behind us. Unfortunately for us students, this warmer season goes hand in hand with another: Finals. Not just a week marked on our calendars, with each passing day it becomes more and more solid. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the real test of Finals comes down to how well you can juggle everything at once. While classes can be manageable week to week, as we head towards the finish line time begins to run out as deadlines pile up. Now it’s not all doom and gloom, after all, it’s Spring in Paris! Arguably the most beautiful and pleasant time to be in the city.

My week always starts off with a bang as 4 of my 5 classes are on Monday and Tuesday, so I spent much of that time inside and slightly stressed. With my work for Senior Studio cooling down, it’s time to kick Senior Thesis into high gear and get this show on the road. In the days to come I would only offer you this, please remember to sleep and eat regularly. You would be shocked how easily students forget to take care of these basic needs once our brain goes into panic mode. Please trust me, you still have time to get things done, but you will be so much more productive if you are feeling well. Okay, that’s all the sage 4th year student advice I have for you this week. On to the fun.

As Wednesday morning rolled around, the first day with no classes, I found myself weirdly dreading the one thing I had on my calendar for that day. Since our Thesis books are about ready to be printed, it’s up to us Communication Design students to do what we fear most: print. So this Wednesday, my friend and I arranged to go print shop scouting around Paris and once again try to charm the socks off of the gruff French men who run these printers. No easy feat, and after the rather taxing start to the week the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed. Nevertheless, everything is more fun when you have good company, and so my friend and I set off to the mean streets of Paris to find ourselves a printer.

First up was a shop in Montparnasse, located quite literally under the famous Tower. After roaming the largely abandoned shopping center adjacent to the tower and coming up empty handed, we played our tourist cards and were pointed in the right direction. We’d been warned that this printer was a bit on the brusque side, so we came ready to fight (read: plead) as best we could. We were greeted with suspicious warmth and given paper samples by a kind lady, my friend is thankfully in excellent command of French which brought our likability rating up considerably. We were then ushered over to a guy who proceeded to take a look at our book files and quite pleasantly talk about the options and associated costs. Within about an hour, we each had a quote and skipped to the metro with a boost of faith in humanity.

Next we headed to the 5th arrondissement and enjoyed the accompanying sights and smells of various food stands as we made our way to the second print shop. Packed between restaurants, this shop had the immediate wow factor of displaying their impressive breadth of work. We talked to (you guessed it) another gruff French man who turned out to also be quite pleasant and helped us make an appointment for that Friday as they were currently busy. We then hauled ourselves to Le Marais, which was looking particularly gorgeous on this fine spring day, before realizing that the print shop we wanted to check out didn’t open for another hour. Being a glass half full kinda gal I suggested we pick up some lemonade and have an impromptu picnic in the nearby park. We luxuriated in the sunlight, sipping our drinks and having a good-natured chat about anything and everything but school work (a pact we’d made to maintain our sanity). Before we knew it, the hour was up and we strolled to the print shop with an added spring in our step.

This shop was by far the friendliest, and checked out our files before giving us his quote. Dazed yet satisfied, we got ourselves onto the metro and took it home. Only after sitting down once more did we realize just how exhausted we were. As 4th year students who can sometimes barely muster up the energy to go grocery shopping much less running around Paris for four hours straight, we’d forgotten how little of the city we see on a week to week basis. It was extremely refreshing to rediscover some parts of Paris I hadn’t seen in months and I flopped onto my couch a tired but happy student.

Soak up the sun!

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